Cody Bass, Chicago Express and the Worlds!
A bit of a hodge-podge post, but three bits of news came to light recently. The first was that the Jackets have inked depth forward Cody Bass to a one-year, two-way deal. Bass alternated between the Jackets and Springfield Falcons of the AHL this past season. He'll likely fill the same role next season, but will likely spend more time as a veteran leader with the Falcons. It's a good move to maintain depth in the organization and he'l also be in the mix for a spot on the fourth line, expecially if the team can't come to terms with free agent Jared Boll.
After only one season, the Chicago Express of the ECHL are folding. The Express served as the Jackets' ECHL affilate this past season with goaltender Allen York and defensemen Steve Delisle and Taylor Ellington seeing time there. NHL-ECHL affiiation agreements are generally signed year-to-year. In terms of geography, there are a pair of teams that make sense for a new affiliation- the Toledo Walleye and Cincinnatti Cyclones. It remains to be seen who the Jackets will pair up with, or they may join another NHL team in a joint affiliation. Last season the Walleye were affiliated with the Chicago Blackhawks, while the Cyclones were partnered with the Florida Panthers and Nashville Predators. At this point a joint affilation with Chicago in Toledo makes the most sense. That said, the ECHL is always in-flux, and a potential expansion team could be the best option for the Jackets, as the Express were last year.
Every spring, the World Hockey Championship takes place, featuring the best European players and NHLers who's club team failed to make the postseason. Often a roster spot or two is left open for players from teams who's club is eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. This tournamnet is very popular with most European teams, but isn't viewed by North Americans in the same light. Nonetheless, it's a very good tournament featuring a handful of NHL stars and a collection of second-tier players who jump at the chance to represent their country. Given the Jackets' lack of playoff appearances over the years, they have often contributed heavily to this tournament.
Normally Rick Nash is a shoe-in for Canada, but this tweet from TSN's Darren Dreger doesn't make it seem like Nash is going to participate this year. One player that is confirmed for Canada is defenseman Marc Methot. Methot played last season for Canada in a shutdown role. On a recent Columbus broadcast, it was reported by Jeff Rimer that Jack Johnson and Cam Atkinson had accepted invites for Team USA, while R.J. Umberger and James Wisniewski had to decline. More news will trickle out closer to the start of the tournament, where players like Fedor Tyutin and Nikita Nikitin could crack the Russian roster.